||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Branding||NBC 5 Chicago (general)
NBC 5 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||We Are Chicago|
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
(NBC Telemundo License, LLC)
|First air date||October 8, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||WilliaM A. Quinn – publisher of Chicago Daily News or We Must Ask Questions
(derived from former sister station WMAQ radio)
Comcast SportsNet Chicago
|Former callsigns||WNBQ (1948–1964)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1948–2009)
|Transmitter power||350 kW|
WMAQ-TV is the NBC owned-and-operated television station in Chicago, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 (virtual channel 5.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop the Willis Tower. Owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal, WMAQ-TV is sister to Telemundo outlet WSNS-TV and regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Chicago. It maintains primary studios and business offices at the NBC Tower in the Streeterville neighborhood. Syndicated programming on WMAQ-TV includes Access Hollywood, Ellen, and Extra, among others.
|This section requires expansion with: further information on WMAQ-TV's station history. (May 2010)|
- See also WMAQ (AM) for pre-1948 history of the station.
The station signed on October 8, 1948, as WNBQ, the last of Chicago's four commercial VHF stations to launch. WNBQ is also the third of the five original NBC owned-and-operated stations to begin operations, after New York City and Washington and before Cleveland and Los Angeles. Eight years later, it became the first station in the world to broadcast all of its programs in color. Though NBC had long owned WMAQ radio (670 AM, frequency now occupied by WSCR), it did not change the TV station's call letters to WMAQ-TV until August 31, 1964. The calls of its sister radio station were initially assigned by the government, but went on to form the phrase "We Must Ask Questions," which the radio station took on as its motto in the 1920s.
WMAQ-TV originated several programs for the NBC television network from its studios in the Merchandise Mart during the 1950s, including Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, featuring Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison; Garroway at Large, starring Dave Garroway; and "Studs' Place," hosted by Studs Terkel. Television critics referred to the broadcasts – often low-budget with few celebrity guests but a good deal of inventiveness – as examples of the "Chicago School of Television."
WMAQ-TV gained fame for its newscasts during the 1960s, anchored by Floyd Kalber, John Palmer, Jim Ruddle, and Jorie Lueloff, with weatherman Harry Volkman (later of WBBM-TV, WGN-TV and WFLD), sports reporter Johnny Morris, and commentator Len O'Connor. Though its role as a program provider to NBC diminished in the 1960s, WMAQ-TV gathered and distributed more than 200 feeds per month of news footage from overseas and the central United States to NBC News.
In 1975, Jane Pauley, later of NBC's Today Show, briefly co-anchored WMAQ-TV's 10 pm news with Kalber. Carol Marin joined WMAQ-TV in 1978. Ron Magers followed in 1981. Magers and Deborah Norville (later host of Inside Edition) co-anchored the station's hour-long 4:30 pm newscast during the 1980s, and Magers and Marin co-anchored WMAQ-TV's 10 pm newscast. On October 1, 1989, the station began broadcasting from the NBC Tower after 40 years at the Merchandise Mart. WMAQ-TV's newscast ratings overtook those of WBBM-TV in the 1980s, but the station could not dethrone ratings leader WLS-TV during the period.
On February 26, 2004, WMAQ-TV garnered national attention when Katie Couric, Al Roker, and Lester Holt hosted the Today Show on Cityfront Plaza to debut the station's streetside studio at 401 N. Michigan Ave. Named "Studio 5", it was the first of its kind in Chicago. The morning and noon newscasts were broadcast there until late 2012 when the space was put up for sale.
On January 14, 2008, WMAQ-TV became the second television station in Chicago after WLS to broadcast news in high definition. Only in-studio footage and some of the remote field footage are in HD; most other remote field footage remains in standard definition using a mix of 16:9 widescreen and 4:3 cameras.
On February 28, 2012, WMAQ-TV unveiled a new studio in the tower along with new music, and a graphics package similar to that of other NBC-owned stations. Aside from that, it also updated its logo by placing the new 3D glass effect version of the peacock logo on the left side portion of the number 5 logo (although the new version of the logo was launched by the network in May 2011), becoming the first NBC O&O to add the new version of the peacock to their logo. Months later, in the tower, a wide view overlooking North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River was installed behind the anchor desk looking through what appears to be floor-to-ceiling windows. But those "windows" are actually five, adjacent 21-foot-wide Panasonic plasma displays set on end and fed by a camera mounted on the building which formerly housed the streetside studio.
Digital television 
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||NBC5||Main WMAQ-TV programming / NBC|
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WMAQ-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast its pre-transition digital channel 29. Digital television receivers display WMAQ-TV's virtual channel as 5 through the use of PSIP.
NBC Weather Plus ceased being broadcast nationally on December 1, 2008, but weather maps and traffic reports continued broadcasts as NBC Plus on channel 5.2. "Raw" coverage of various live events, including Barack Obama's victory rally in Grant Park and Governor Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial has also been carried on channel 5.2 On November 1, 2010, WMAQ started airing NBC Chicago Nonstop Channel, replacing NBC Plus.
From June 13 to July 12, 2009, WMAQ-TV simulcasted many of its newscasts as a contributor to WWME-CA's analog lifeline service for the Chicago area, an "unprecedented" four-station partnership. The "lifeline" programming on analog Channel 23 included WMAQ's weekday morning news from 4:30 am to 7 am and weeknights at 6 pm, Saturdays at 6 am, 9 a.m. and weekend nights at 5 p.m along with WGN-TV (Channel 9)'s 9 pm newscasts. The lifeline continued only as a simulcast of entertainment programming from WWME's sister station WCIU-TV until January 2011, when it was switched to a simulcast of WCIU's The U Too subchannel.
News operation 
|This section requires expansion with: further information on WMAQ's news operation history. (May 2010)|
Currently, WMAQ broadcasts a total of 26 hours of local news per week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). Unlike most NBC stations in the Central Time Zone, WMAQ did not carry a newscast in the weekday midday time period until September 12, 2011, when it returned to the midday news business with a half-hour newscast called "NBC 5 News at Noon". The station has launched national careers for Pauley, Norville, CBS sportscaster Greg Gumbel, CNN Headline News morning anchor Robin Meade, Maury Povich, PBS reporter Ray Suarez, and The Insider host Pat O'Brien.
Since January 12, 2009, WMAQ and Fox affiliate WFLD have shared a news chopper and the footage taken from it; this agreement has reportedly paved the way for a larger pooling effort between the two stations.
After years in second place behind WBBM-TV and, later, WLS-TV in the 10 pm news race, at the conclusion of the November 2009 Nielsen Ratings sweeps period, WBBM-TV's 10 pm newscast overtook WMAQ-TV for second place for the first time in many years, largely due to the low ratings of the latter station's lead-in The Jay Leno Show. WLS-TV continues to dominate the local newscast ratings in the Chicago media market. It has since regained second place at 10 pm although closer to third-place WBBM-TV than to WLS-TV. However in the November 2010 sweeps period, WMAQ's 10 pm newscast slipped back to third behind WBBM-TV in that time slot (and fourth among Chicago's late night newscasts) although WMAQ continues to run second in other time slots.
On December 6, 2011, WMAQ-TV announced a partnership with The Chicago Reporter as part of a larger effort by NBCUniversal to partner with nonprofit news organizations following its acquisition by Comcast.
Jerry Springer 
WMAQ achieved notoriety in 1997 when the station, in an effort to boost its newscast ratings, hired Jerry Springer as a commentator. At the same time, the station adopted a more tabloid news format by bringing in Joel Cheatwood. Previously, Cheatwood was known for establishing fast-paced tabloid newscasts at WSVN in Miami and WHDH-TV in Boston.
Though Springer was once a two-term mayor of Cincinnati before becoming a news anchor for that city's NBC affiliate WLWT, his association with his infamous talk show (which, until 2009, was broadcast from WMAQ's NBC Tower studios, and is now distributed by NBC Universal) led to the belief that the newscast was being dumbed down. There were a handful of Springer supporters; nevertheless, the incident triggered a lot of negative publicity, both locally and nationally. The station's longtime anchor team, Carol Marin and Ron Magers, resigned in protest. News broadcasts at that time originated from a studio that opened onto the station's newsroom. As Marin signed off her last newscast, station personnel stood en masse in the newsroom behind her in a symbolic show of support for her decision to resign. The station saw a drop in its ratings. Springer only made two commentaries before he resigned, feeling unhappy with the criticism he received.
Amy Jacobson 
On July 10, 2007, Amy Jacobson negotiated her exit with WMAQ-TV, after being videotaped in a bikini with her two sons at the home of Craig Stebic; the video was obtained by rival station WBBM-TV. Craig's wife Lisa was missing and had not been found as of that date. The incident raised the issue whether Jacobson crossed a journalistic ethical line in being friendly with a subject of the story. Jacobson reported at WMAQ-TV for the previous 10 years. The video of her at Craig Stebic's home was either taken by or given to WBBM-TV, which has the entire six minute video on its website.
In the February 2011 Nielsen local news ratings, WMAQ ranked in third place overall in late news with a 5.5 rating share, dropping substantially from the 6.8 share it scored in February 2010 that was propelled by a lead-in from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. WMAQ had the second-lowest lead-in number among all news stations in the market with a 4.7 lead-in share (WGN-TV's primetime lead-in for its late newscast was the lowest, scoring a 2.2 rating lead-in, though its 9 pm newscast remained strong).
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- NBC Newsroom Chicago with Chet Utley (1949–1959)
- NBC News Night Report (1959–1970)
- NewsFive (1970–1975)
- NewsCenter 5 (1975–1983)
- Channel 5 News (1983–1997)
- NewsChannel 5 (1997–1998)
- NBC 5 Chicago News (1998–2000)
- NBC 5 News (2000–present)
Station slogans 
- "Your 24-Hour News Source" (1989–1993)
- "Committed to Chicago" (1996–1998)
- "We Are Chicago" (2010–present)
News team 
- Marion Brooks – weekdays at noon and 4:30 p.m.; also weeknight reporter and host of The Talk
- Rob Elgas – anchors weekdays at 4:30 p.m. and reporter for 10 p.m.
- Daniella Guzman – weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Stefan Holt – weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.); also general assignment reporter
- Lauren Jiggetts – weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also general assignment reporter
- Dick Johnson – weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Anthony Ponce - weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 weekends, 8:00-9:00 Sundays and 9:00-10:00 a.m. Saturdays); also weekday reporter
- Allison Rosati – weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Rob Stafford – weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Kim Vatis – weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 weekends, 8:00-9:00 Sundays and 9:00-10:00 a.m. Saturdays); also weekday reporter and fill-in anchor
NBC 5 Weather
- Brant Miller (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Andy Avalos (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Alicia Roman (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekdays at noon and 4:30 p.m.
- Cheryl Scott – meteorologist; weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Pete Sack (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 weekends, 8:00-9:00 Sundays and 9:00-10:00 a.m. Saturdays)
Note: Sports anchors employed by WMAQ-TV cycle. There is not a set sports "anchoring" schedule
- Mary Ann Ahern – political reporter; also host of Ward Room
- Christian Farr – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Steve Handelsman – NBC Newschannel national correspondent
- Nesita Kwan – health reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Mike Lorber- Sky 5 NBC 5 Helicopter Reporter
- Carol Marin – political editor; also host of Ward Room
- Kye Martin - weekday morning traffic (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and transportation reporter
- Natalie Martinez – general assignment reporter
- Lisa Parker – consumer and investigative reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Lauren Petty – general assignment reporter
- Michelle Relerford – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Phil Rogers – general assignment reporter
- LeeAnn Trotter – entertainment reporter
- Charlie Wojciechowski – general assignment and technology reporter
- Sharon Wright – general assignment reporter
Former on-air staff 
- Jackie Bange – weekend anchor/reporter (1990–1993, now at WGN-TV)
- John Coleman – meteorologist (1984–1990, now at KUSI-TV in San Diego)
- Chet Coppock – sports anchor (1981–1984, currently at WMVP-AM)
- Jim Cummins – reporter (1976–1978, later Southwest Bureau Chief at NBC News, deceased)
- Alex Dreier – news anchor (1960–1962)
- Tom Duggan – sports reporter (1949–1953, deceased)
- Roger Ebert – (deceased)
- Mark Giangreco – sports anchor (1982–1993, now at WLS-TV)
- Greg Gumbel – sports anchor (1973–1981, now at CBS Sports)
- Chuck Henry – anchor (1979–1982, now at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles)
- Ron Hunter – anchor (1975–1978 deceased)
- Amy Jacobson – reporter (1996–2007)
- Walter Jacobson – anchor/reporter (1971–1973, later at WFLD-TV, then at WBBM-TV, now retired from WBBM-TV in 2013)
- Thom Johnson - now at KSDK-TV in St. Louis
- Floyd Kalber – legendary anchor (1960–1976, deceased)
- Jon Kelley – sports reporter (1991–1998, later at Extra, now at KNTV-TV in San Francisco)
- Don Lemon – anchorman/reporter (2003–2005, now with CNN world headquarters in Atlanta)
- Ron Magers – longtime anchor (1981–1997, now at WLS-TV)
- Robin Meade – anchor/reporter (1994–2001, now at HLN)
- Erin Moriarty – consumer reporter (1983–1986, now at CBS News)
- Johnny Morris – sports anchor (1968–1975)
- Rich Newberg – investigative reporter (1975–1978, now at WIVB-TV in Buffalo)
- Deborah Norville – reporter/anchor (1982–1986, now host of Inside Edition)
- Pat O'Brien – anchor/reporter (?–?)
- Jane Pauley – anchor/reporter (1975–1976)
- Maury Povich – anchor (1976–1977)
- Cindy Preszler – meteorologist (1997–1998, currently at KSDK-TV in St. Louis)
- Carol Anne Riddell – reporter (1990–1992, now at WNBC-TV in New York)
- Max Robinson – anchor (1984–1985, deceased)
- Matt Rodewald - reporter (2006-2012, currently at WSCR-AM in Chicago)
- Jim Ruddle - anchor, commentator 1967-1986 Retired
- Zoraida Sambolin – anchor/reporter/Weekend Connection and The Rundown host (2002–2011, now co-host of Early Start on CNN)
- Warner Saunders – anchor/reporter (1980–2009)
- Mark Schanowski – sports anchor/reporter (1998–2005, now at Comcast Sportsnet Chicago)
- Carole Simpson – weekend anchor/reporter (1970–1974)
- Bob Sirott – anchor/reporter (1989–1993, later at WFLD-TV, WTTW-TV and 2006–2009, now back at WFLD-TV)
- Tammie Souza – meteorologist (2000–2006, later at WFLD-TV and WTSP-TV in Tampa, now back at WFLD-TV)
- Amy Stone – (?–?)
- Ray Suarez – reporter (1986–1993 now a Senior Correspondent at the PBS NewsHour)
- Mark Suppelsa – anchor/investigative reporter (1993–2003, later at WFLD-TV, now at WGN-TV)
- Jerry Taft – weather anchor (1977–1984, now at WLS-TV)
- Harry Volkman – weather anchor (1959–1967, later at WBBM-TV and WFLD-TV)
- Tim Weigel – sports anchor (1975–1977 later at WLS-TV and WBBM-TV, deceased)
- Bruce Wolf - (now at WTXF-TV in Philadelphia)
- Linda Yu – anchor/reporter (1979–1984, now at WLS-TV)
- Ginger Zee – weekend meteorologist (?–2011, now at Good Morning America)
- "Media reports..." Broadcasting, August 24, 1964, pg. 79. 
- "WNBQ to Become WMAQ-TV Today." Chicago Tribune, August 31, 1964.
- "Early Chicago Originations to the NBC Network from WNBQ (later WMAQ-TV)". Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- Railton, Arthur (October 1951). They Fool You Every Night. Popular Mechanics. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- "News at WMAQ-TV in 1968". Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- "We're Your On-air, On-line Election Headquarters". NBCChicago.com. November 6, 2008.
- "Watch Blago Impeachment Trial Online and on NBC Chicago's Digital Channel". NBCChicago.com. January 23, 2009.
- WMAQ-TV to Launch Local 24-Hour Diginet, Television Broadcast, July 26, 2010
- "WMAQ-TV, WGN-TV partner with Weigel Broadcasting for analog 'lifeline'". Chicago Tribune. June 11, 2009.
- "Fox, NBC Share Chicago Chopper". Retrieved January 12, 2009.
- http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/1912877,CST-FIN-lew01.article. Missing or empty
- Channick, Robert (December 6, 2011). "Ch. 5 teams up with Chicago Reporter to boost local news". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- Johnson, Steve (July/August 1997). How Low Can TV News Go?. Columbia Journalism Review.
- The New York Times: Springer Quits News Show, Citing Attacks, Friday, May 9, 1997. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
- E! Online: Jerry Springer Quits News Job. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
- Rosenthal, Phil (July 10, 2007). "Jacobson out at WMAQ". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
- Johnson-Sullivan anchor duo paying off for WBBM-Channel 2, Chicago Sun-Times, March 4, 2011.
- WMAQ News open 1967
- WMAQ NEWS OPEN – CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – 1986
- WMAQ 1997 Open
- WMAQ NBC 5 6PM Open
- 1991 WMAQ 24 Hour News Source Update
- , NBCChicago.com. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "John Coleman bio". KUSI-TV. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Jane Pauley Biography". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: WMAQ-TV|
- NBCChicago.com - Official Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WMAQ
- Reporter Rich Samuels' WMAQ Web site